Kid’s Birthday Traditions Around the World: Asia

Celebrating a kid’s birthday is always a pretty big ordeal. In the United States, it’s a time when kids get presents, they usually have some kind of birthday party, they bring treats into school, and then of course there’s the cake back at home on the actual day. This is pretty much such a standard in birthday procedure that we forget other countries and cultures might do things differently. For example, did you know that more kids in the world slurp long noodles on their birthday than blow out candles on a cake?

There are so many amazing birthday celebrations around the world that in today’s blog, we’re just focusing on kids birthday parties in the United States and countries in Asia. When you’re looking for a kid’s birthday party of a lifetime, contact the experts of fun at Rebounderz in Rohnert Park! From after school clubs and dodgeball to birthday parties, we can offer a celebration that will be one to remember. Read on to learn about kid’s birthday traditions from around the globe, and book your next event with Rebounderz.

The United States

It might seem strange to start with kid’s birthday celebrations in the United States, but it’s important to start with a place that serves as a baseline. Remember, just because it seems normal to us doesn’t mean that other cultures would see it as common practice! Having this perspective in mind is important, because it serves as a reminder that different does not mean bad, nor strange. It could be easy to think of slurping noodles as weird, but when you think about it, is it any weirder than blowing out flammable tiny sticks that are moderately entrenched into a cake?

In the US, kids’ birthdays are celebrated annually on the day that they were born. The birthday is one of the most important days in the year for a kid, because it’s a day dedicated to celebrating them. Kids might get a special breakfast in the morning, and often will bring treats to school to share with their classmates in celebration. Treats might be cupcakes or some kind of candy, but most schools have pretty strict regulations on what can or cannot be brought.

With their families, the tradition for most kids and adults alike is to have a cake (of their choice) for dessert, and however old the birthday person is turning reflects the number of candles in the cake. Though sometimes, in lieu of having 20 or 30 candles in a cake, people will insert candles that simply spell out the number instead.

Once the candles are lit, the family sings the “Happy Birthday” song (or some variation), and once it ends, kids make a silent wish before blowing their candles out. In many instances, families will say that however many candles are not blown out on the first try reflect the number of girlfriends/boyfriends a person has. Usually in the week or so surrounding the actual birthday, families will host a kid’s birthday party, where the child invites friends to a fun event. Friends and other family members usually bring presents for the birthday kid as well.

Whew! There’s a lot that goes into a kid’s birthday party in the United States! With all of that in mind, let’s dive into some other birthday celebrations around the world.

Vietnam

In Vietnam, the most important day of the whole year is Tết, which is the Vietnamese New Year. On this day, not only is the arrival of spring celebrated, but it’s actually when everyone in the country celebrates their birthdays, all at once. Unlike the US, the actual day you are born is not acknowledged at all—rather, a baby turns one on Tết, and then two the following year on Tết.

Since the whole country is celebrating, a kid’s birthday party is more like a massive, nation-wide party (not just specific to them). On the first day of Tết, kids receive red envelopes full of money from numerous adults in their lives.

China

The US sees some pretty elaborate birthday celebrations for kids on their first birthday. However, parents in China throw a party when their child turns one month old. This is called a red egg and ginger party, and was a custom that carried over from ancient times when infant mortality was much higher. The red egg and ginger party is often held at a restaurant (but can be less formal and hosted at home as well), and—like the name suggests—people eat red eggs and pickled ginger. As the website Red Egg and Ginger Party explains, “Guests are presented with red eggs, which symbolize luck and unity, and pickled ginger, which brings the body back into balance after childbirth.”

How about celebrations after turning one month old? Kid’s birthday parties might look pretty similar in some ways to those in the US, but one big difference comes from the aforementioned slurping of the noodles. Long noodles, often referred to as longevity noodles, are not bitten, but rather slurped for good luck, as well as living a full and long life.

Thailand

There are many similarities to kids’ birthday parties in Thailand and the US, where sometimes cake and parties are staples of the day. However, one major difference comes from the religion of Thailand. As a majority Buddhist culture, people will visit a Buddhist temple and offer food to the monks on their birthday. People will prepare food ahead of time, then give a meal as an offering to Buddhist monks as a way to show reverence and gratitude. There are many customs and certain body actions that are acceptable and unacceptable in Buddhist culture, such as the height of your hands when greeting a monk. One of the simplest customs to remember in this birthday offertory scenario is to remove your shoes before greeting a monk!

India

Birthdays are important days, no matter how old you are in India. There is usually a kid’s birthday party or celebration, but presents are less of a focus, and may not be given at all. One thing that stands out, however, is that people will wear a formal and/or new outfit on their birthday—dressing your best is key to celebrating your birthday. Not only is it a fancy, dressy outfit, but sometimes clothes are tailor-made in preparation for the big day.

South Korea

Birthdays are important in South Korea, but there are two ages in particular that really take the cake. Dol is the celebration of a child’s first birthday. The child will wear traditional Korean clothing, and certain foods and objects must be included in the ceremony. Foods that can be found are a bowl of steamed white rice, seaweed soup, and pure water. The location of foods is also highly important—the foods mentioned are all placed on a praying table, whereas next to the table is where you can find red bean rice cakes.

Also on the table are a series of objects: a brush, a knife, a pencil, a book, money, a bow and arrow, and a spool of thread. It is believed that whichever object the birthday child reaches for first indicates their interests and potential careers in the future. As one example, if a child reaches for a book or a pencil, they are believed to become successful in academics.

Additionally, a person’s 60th birthday is called hwangap, and is a pretty big deal. According to the Korean zodiac, this is the year that the zodiac cycle is complete. A feast and big celebration is thrown in honor of the person turning 60.

In the United States and in countries around Asia, there are some wonderfully unique celebrations that all serve the same purpose: celebrating life. For your kid’s birthday party, they will love the activity and fun that comes with a Rebounderz birthday event. Book a kid’s birthday event with Rebounderz today!